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High Desert Museum introduces new river otter pup

High Desert Museum

Bend’s High Desert Museum has a new, young river otter in its exhibit. But experts would rather have been able to release him back to his family.

Jon Nelson, Curator of Wildlife at the High Desert Museum, said the pup was found in Sunriver in late May at about eight weeks old. He told KLCC, “Some wildlife rehabbers responded to a call of an otter on the golf course and when they got there, what they found was a very young, very underweight, and extremely dehydrated otter pup. And so it looks kind of like he was abandoned.”

Nelson said experts looked for several weeks for the otter’s family, but never found them. He said it’s likely people disturbed the family and they had to relocate, but were too stressed to return for the pup. The pup has adapted well to life in the museum and he’s big enough to join two other male otters in the exhibit, where he’ll live full time starting this week.

The young otter, who has not yet been named, can be seen with the other two resident river otters, Brook and Pitch.

The museum, which is celebrating 40 years of operation this year, is open daily, year-round.

Karen Richards joined KLCC as a volunteer reporter in 2012, and became a freelance reporter at the station in 2015. In addition to news reporting, she’s contributed to several feature series for the station, earning multiple awards for her reporting.